SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Victor Bolden returned to the 49ers this week after serving a four-game suspension, and he immediately began preparing as if he might be needed Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’m definitely happy to be back here,” Bolden said on Wednesday. “It was a tough four weeks, it felt like forever. But I’m excited to be back out there to practice and play with my guys.”

The 49ers have until Monday at 1 p.m., when his roster exemption expires, to make a decision whether to activate Bolden to the 53-man roster or waive him. If he were wavied and clears waivers, the 49ers would be expected to bring him back to the practice squad.

But with the team also being shorthanded at receiver, it’s possible the 49ers could opt to make a decision before Sunday to activate him, making him available for Sunday’s game at Levi's Stadium.

“Everything’s going to play into that based off all of our other roster situations,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Said Bolden, “Don’t know, but I know I can go out there today and have a great day of practice and tomorrow have great day of practice. That’s what I’m focused on.”

The 49ers might need another receiver this week, as Dante Pettis appears to be out for multiple weeks with a knee injury, and Marquise Goodwin is questionable with thigh and hamstring injuries.

Bolden did not fall out of favor with the 49ers due to the suspension. The NFL ruled he violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The 49ers believe Bolden tested positive after unknowingly using a supplement of creatine that was contaminated with a banned substance.


“I appreciate all the support they gave me,” Bolden said. “It was a tough situation and I’m glad it’s over with.”

Bolden made the 49ers’ 53-man roster at the beginning of last season as an undrafted rookie from Oregon State after scoring touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns. He appeared in nine games and was the 49ers’ leading kick returner before going on injured reserve in mid-December with an ankle injury.

The suspension was announced in June, and Bolden was allowed to participate in all team activities until the week leading up to the regular season. He put together a strong training camp, and caught six passes for 90 yards in the preseason.

During his suspension, Bolden trained in Southern California under the direction of his father, Victor Bolden Sr., who played football at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

“One thing I can say from being away, you can definitely see the big picture, and we’re just one or two plays away from winning those games,” Bolden said. “We just got to continue to execute and clean up the mistakes and we’ll be fine.”